December 2, 2021
Montreal-based API developer, Flinks (“Company”) has partnered with the National Bank of Canada (“National Bank”) to launch a product called the Open Banking Environment (“OBE”). The product will enable fintech start-ups to securely access consumer data from financial institutions without the need for “screen scraping”. Screen scraping is the process of collecting screen display data from one application and translating it so that another application can display it.
The OBE is an initiative that was launched based on the recommendations included in the federal advisory committee’s final open banking report on consumer data rights, security, and scope of access. The committee recommended that the government introduce the first stage of open banking by 2023, as well as appoint an open banking lead to oversee the development and implementation of the process.
National Bank is the first financial institution to use the product and Flinks confirmed that in a few weeks, over 300 fintech start-ups will be onboarded to the platform for their National Bank connections. According to Flinks’ COO, Dominique Samson, the Company is having discussions with a few banks and there seems to be a good indication of interest.
Flinks has emphasized that OBE would eliminate the “screen scraping” method of obtaining consumers’ financial data and will provide a more secure platform for obtaining consumer data. On the OBE platform, when a financial institution partners with Flinks and their users want to connect a Fintech app or service with their bank account, OBE will redirect the users to the financial institution for authentication. Once OBE gets a “token” back approving data access, the data is shared through a secure API.
Although Flinks developed OBE in partnership with National Bank, Samson emphasized during the Open Banking Expo event that the platform is “not a National Bank proprietary asset or strategy. It is really Flink’s first product addressed to the financial institution audience and there’s no exclusivity whatsoever on it.”
Author: Bukola Adelusi